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Henrietta Branford Writing Competition 2017 - winning stories


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The Branford Boase Award for

Yosuf Ali  |  Amelia Barwick  |  Elisabeth Goldsmith  |  Alice Rose Jennings  |  
Sara Mazilu and Salam Rajab |  Wilf Squibb


From Refugee to King

by Yosuf Ali, aged 14 years, Harrow, London


The map led us to an old wall dressed in ivy. I entered through the leaves till I was touching the bricks and felt my way sideways. The wall continued three paces then gaged from the rough touch of fired sands to the smooth damp texture of rotting wood. we pulled the evergreen curtain side. Beneath it was a hidden door. I grabbed the heavy iron ring handle that riveted to the ancient wood and twisted it both hands, hoping the door would open.

Me and my other companions attempt very hardly and violently till I felt my heart burst opening the immovable

Small door. fifteen minutes of tired, hardships, difficulties and fatigue seemed a century because we were volunteering ourselves to the most dangerous danger the world has ever observed.

Therefore, after about an incredible quarter of an hour because of the horror and desperation that have been growing in our innocent and small hearts due to the circumstances we have gone through. Finally, and fortunately, the door has opened.

We jumped over to an indiscernible place that we have never seen before.

Once we got in the abandoned place, room, hall, mosque, church, temple or whatever it is, I felt that I am in the space because of the darkness, even though I am still on this biased and oppressive planet.

We started staring at the indistinguishable walls.

However, we could not see anything at all so, we started moving

Here and there, west and east, south and north, upwards and downwards like monkeys or donkeys looking for something even though we need nothing.

Suddenly after twenty minutes of suffering and snuffing the unreal candle that is in our brains because we hoped to see the light to recognize each other and our surroundings to reassure that we are in a sheltered and secure place. Later, we found the thing we have been looking for" a piece of wood". I grabbed each one of us two small pieces to ignite a fire.

At that moment, I said we are now in the twenty-first century the age of technology and renaissance, we spin a wood to get the fire.

Ahmed said it is the result of the conflict and war.

Then Ali said yeah tell us what your narrative is? What happened to you?

I said Ahmed or me. They said who has the worst story so; we both spoke because we both think it is the worst.

Therefore, he allowed me to speak, I started speaking my sad and sorrowful story, and I said I lived as a king in my house and property.

I worked extremely hard in my school life I spent twenty-seven years of my thirty-four yeas age for studying, I ignored everything else in this world.

Ahmed said for the sake of what?

Therefore, I replied to build my country, I took a massive, heavy, and hard responsibility about my country.

When I reached the age of nineteen the war started in my country. In addition, starting from that day until now you would not know who the Saviour and traitor is, so I threw this responsibility from my shoulder and remembered “where civil blood makes civil hands unclean”.

Therefore, due to the war I had to leave my country when I was twenty-seven years old.

and on my way to here I lost my son with his mum in the sea …................ .

Whilst I was talking, they suddenly fell asleep whereas my eyes could not close nor blink because of the horror of the place.

While they were sleeping, I started messing around and looking for random things.

I explored the room, because of that I figured out that this room belongs to an underground palace and this room is isolated from the palace I saw from the window.

This made me nervous, anxious, frightened and exited to know more about the palace.

Therefore, I started looking for things like images or books or anything like this.

So, suddenly and finally I found a royal uniform and a big book titled "our empire".

I read a bit of the book and discovered that this palace belongs to a king whose name is Charles, who left for no reason and never came back.

Immediately I started wondering myself how a king leaves his gold, his diamonds, his family, his country and his authority and power. At that point, I hoped to be a king like him!

I wore the royal uniform angrily and jealously and it did fit in my body!

I got a great idea.

I crept to the front of the palace. In addition, started calling out the king is back. He is back, immediately after that, a sixteen-year-old girl who is the princess came out shouting DADDY daddy she wanted to hug her father, but I said wait I am so dirty wait till I take a shower and I continued my day. I opened a new page in my life and the sun that shone on that day was my sun and it was my day as well.

I came in the palace that I made it mine with a lofty head and people are bowing down to my majesty.

I recognized that the hardships, difficulties and obstacles are over, I am now King Charles.

I went to the State treasury, looked at the gold, diamonds, money, crowns, rubies and jewels.

I was so shocked and surprised. However, I recognized that this all is mine.

I was so happy, glad, joyful, merry, blissful, lucky, cheerful, fortunate.

I felt that I am pleased, delighted, succeeded. Again, it was my day.

I grabbed some money, went to the room where I and my friends were sleeping, I gave them money and provided food, and allowed them to go where they want as the king. Time went on.

I ignored the fact that I am a king. The only thing I looked at and for is money.

I stayed on the throne for one-year where I thought that nothing is going to happen to me. During this year I punished the dynasty because they did not follow me or look for me, I made a big enthronement ceremony, I wasted the budget of the empire. I ignored the fact that I am a king. the only thing I looked at and for is money.

One year later, my period ended, my enemies were born, they fought against me. I do not blame them because I really made a big crime and I must pay the price of my mistake and my courage and boldness.

They lost their way and fell in the disobedience and misguidance and triggered a rebellion to end up with the king in the prison.

While I was in the prison, something sublime terrific horrific happened, that is going to end up with something makes me miss the death and I cannot find it............ .

The real king Charles is back! I began imagining my tomb and my cemetery.

I remembered my family, my house, my friends.

I started blaming myself on everything I did.

However, fortunately, my friends knew about what happened and came to the prison wearing the uniform of the prison guards, sent them away and stood in front of the prison gate and opened it for me and then we all escaped.

I went back to my unsafe country, to my house and property,

When I reached there I said your real kingdom is your house nothing else.

And the only place where you are respected, and your dignity is kept is your house nothing else.

I understood that money is nothing compared with the dignity or anything else.

In addition, every single person was forced to leave his country is going to get back to his country.

I learned a new lesson and I am never ever going to forget it.

I understood that there is no difference between a king or a guard.

We are all humans. we were all born free. There is no difference between us.

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